The first larger-than-life-sized bronze of Frederick Law Olmsted created for North Carolina Arboretum

Public unveiling to be held, April 22 in Asheville, N.C.


GLENSIDE, Pa. -- March 22, 2016 -- Philadelphia-based sculptor Zenos Frudakis has created the first statue of 19th century Renaissance man Frederick Law Olmsted. Commissioned by The North Carolina Arboretum, the monument to the man popularly known as the father of American landscape architecture, who was also a reporter for the fledgling New York Times, a social critic and public administrator, will be unveiled at a ceremony on April 22, in the Arboretum’s Blue Ridge Court in Asheville, N.C.

Zenos Frudakis’ Olmsted, which stands at 8-feet, is the latest of his more than 100 monumental public works of art that include his conceptual work Freedom, widely considered to be one of the world’s best public sculptures; the U.S. Air Force Memorial Honor Guard, a copy of which was recently unveiled at the British Imperial War Museum in Duxford, England; as well as commissioned public monuments, portrait statues, and portrait busts of prominent cultural and historical figures throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Sculpting Frederick Law Olmsted (1822 – 1903) from concept to completion took Frudakis nearly two years, and benefitted from extensive planning and research, part of which included consulting with Witold Rybczynski, Professor Emeritus of Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “A Clearing in the Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the 19th Century.”

“It was important for me to create a sculpture which embodied the idea of Frederick Law Olmsted as a visionary of monumental proportions,” says Frudakis. “In his hands he holds the abstract topographic map, which came from his mind and became the land that he stood on.”

For The North Carolina Arboretum the bronze sculpture of Olmsted has been a dream many years in the making. The 434-acre Arboretum was established in 1986, and its creation was inspired by Olmsted’s vision. In the late 1800s, while his plans never came to fruition, Olmsted sought to create the most comprehensive research arboretum in the country on George Vanderbilt’s 125,000-acre Biltmore Estate, in Asheville. Biltmore was Olmsted’s final grand design project.


Renaissance Man

Born in 1822, Olmsted's career in landscape architecture began at the age of 35, when he was appointed superintendent of what was to become New York City’s Central Park. In 1858, Olmsted and English architect Calvert Vaux won a competition for Central Park’s design, and Olmsted was promoted to chief architect. In the years prior to this, Olmsted had worked as a successful farmer, writer, journalist and business man. His early perspective on landscape design was formed after a six-month walking tour of the British Isles and Europe in 1850.

During the Civil War he resigned his appointment as Central Park’s chief architect and briefly held the position of director of the U.S. Sanitary Commission. In 1863 he became the superintendent of the Frémont Mariposa gold mining estates in California.

Returning to New York in 1865, Olmsted and Vaux were reappointed landscape architects for Central Park. During his tenure, between 1865 and 1895, he and his firm became the foremost landscape architects in America completing more than 500 projects, including designs for 40 academic institutions, dozens of public parks and parkways, and landscapes at national monuments such as Yosemite and Niagara Falls. A few notable projects include Prospect Park, Brooklyn (1865); the village of Riverside near Chicago (1868); Mount Royal Park, Montreal (1873-1881); the grounds of the Capitol, Washington, D.C. (1874-1885); the Boston park system (1875-1895); Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif. (1886-1889); and Jackson Park, Chicago (1895). Olmsted's most important late work was the design for the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago (1890-1893), which he completed while designing the Biltmore Estate.


Unveiling Olmsted

The North Carolina Arboretum will host a public unveiling of the statue on April 22, 2016, at 5 p.m. Zenos Frudakis will be in attendance to meet with guests and offer a short talk about the project. On Saturday, April 23, 2016, the Arboretum will host a special, family-friendly day of events in honor of the statue’s installation and will celebrate Olmsted’s 194th birthday on April 26th.

For more information about the public unveiling ceremony and The North Carolina Arboretum, contact Whitney Smith at 828-665-2492 x204, or by e-mail at

For more information about Zenos Frudakis, contact John Xuereb at 610-520-6140 x202, or by e-mail at


About The North Carolina Arboretum

Each year more than 500,000 visitors experience the Arboretum's gardens, trails, exhibits and plant shows, educational programs, demonstrations, and lectures. The Arboretum's ability to meet its mission and enrich the visitor experience is made possible by a community of supporting resources – from members, volunteers and staff to state and local funds, tribute gifts, grants and community partners. The central mission of The North Carolina Arboretum, an affiliate institution of the 17-campus University of North Carolina system, is to cultivate connections between people and plants. For more information, please call (828) 665-2492 or visit 


About Zenos Frudakis

Philadelphia-based sculptor Zenos Frudakis has been a professional working sculptor for nearly four decades. In that time he has created over 100 monumental works in public and private collections throughout the US and abroad. An alumnus of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master in Fine Art from the University of Pennsylvania. Zenos' emphasis has been the figure and the portrait, as demonstrated in his many monumental figure/portrait works, individual portrait busts and bas-reliefs. He excels at expressing the character and vitality of his subjects while capturing an accurate likeness. Zenos portfolio includes figure sculpture, animals, bas-reliefs, portraits -- both busts and paintings -of living and historical individuals, and poetic/philosophical sculpture with a post-modern sensibility.